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HTPC Hardware Selection

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

So I'm planning on building my first HTPC, the main purpose of this is to watch and record live tv with WMC7 plus stream to multiple extenders such as Xbox360. I'm using SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime to get my Comcast TV.

 

So I've started doing some research and I'm having a difficult time deciding on components, mostly the CPU. Seems like most of the HTPC builders use the Intel i5 4670K, which I looked at but it might be out of my price range since I'd like to stay under $500 for the entire thing. Any thoughts on the CPU?

 

I also looked at the AMD A10 6800K which is about $100 less (plus the motherboard seems to be less for that one) or AMD FX8350 which is also less expensive. Even the i5 4430, is $50 less. Some websites recommend the high end CPU some suggest that the lower end A10 6800K is already an overkill.

 

Help please, if I need to spend the $$ I will, since I'm already saving $$ by getting rid of my Comcast cable boxes but I'd rather not spend $ if I don't have to. 

 

Any thoughts would be appreciated. 

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post #2 of 3
I have an A10-5800k and have used two extenders at once with no problem. i3 would even be ok.

Years ago when Microsoft put out standards for WMC they recommended 1 core per extender. That was the Core 2 generation and really isn't as applicable now.

Buying a bigger/faster processor won't hurt you in any way with an htpc, but it could require more fans to cool. Two common htpc goals are quiet and lower power usage. They may or may not matter to you.

Email some of those sites or builders putting together i5 and i7 systems. The common logic says a more powerful cpu is going to be better in a computer. But most htpc tasks really don't use the cpu much.
post #3 of 3
I use WMC + HDHR Prime but not an extender. From what I've read the general rule is one CPU core and 2GB of RAM for each active extender. I have a feeling that is probably an overestimate on the CPU side but maybe someone who uses an extender can provide some info. Since you mentioned extenders (plural) I'm thinking an i5 is probably the right CPU.

I would stay with a CPU that has an integrated GPU so stay away from the AMD FX CPUs. An AMD APU would also be fine however they tend to not be as powerful on the CPU side and they consume more power than the equivalent Intel CPU. The APU will kill intel's gpu but that won't matter at all for what you are doing. Here is a comparison of CPUs:

CPU -- Passmark
A10-6800k -- 5096
i5-4670k -- 7518
i5-4570 -- 7028

If you live near a Micro Center you can get an i5-4570 for $160. I think that's a pretty good deal. Only reason I see to get the 4670k is if you want to overclock and I would not recomment that for a HTPC.
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